9 Aug 2012

Storytelling Trestle Style: Chennai Day 2

Workshop Chronicles:

Emily Gray continues her adventure in India, preceding The Snow Queen tour.

Day 2

‘…experiencing the elements of the story’

We revisited our introductions and today there were relaxed smiles; Shaili [Sathyu of Gillo Theatre Repertory] inspired the group to become shapes that they chose, such as a rainbow, and animals. Each person introduced their chosen object by saying, “this is a (box of sweets) and what you don’t know about it is (that even the most unexpected of boxes may contain some sweetness)”. We all became curious about the stories the teachers had brought.

We didn’t start at the beginning of any of the stories, but rather asked the group to look for the moment when the story really takes off. Our first brave teacher began to introduce her story telling us it is Christmas and Santa receives no present for himself. Here were three elements which could be experienced by a group of children rather than told to them. We asked the group, as if they were school children, to enact preparations for a festival. Someone then entered with a “ho ho ho” and all became aware it was Christmas we were preparing for. Each person was asked to express their preparations in one word and then their feelings in one word – sparkling/ happiness, decorations/anticipation. We then closed our eyes and imagined a gift we would like and mimed it in our hands. When we opened our eyes we were asked to give that gift to Santa; many in the group gave but did not receive gifts, which gave the facilitator, in this case Shaili, the opportunity to point out that Santa got no gift and we all felt so sorry. Here was an example of experiencing the elements of the story rather than being told them.

The teachers now felt prepared to introduce their story moments through experiential exercises and most then took us through their sequence and we commented on the strengths and how they might improve their delivery. We moved onto using music to explore and create a moment in a story which could be expressed through music and enjoyed a beautiful choral sequence where individuals searched for their lost sister, gathered to taste magical waters and transformed into birds. We also discovered the calm to be found in doing daily chores to music to calm down from within; the feeling gained by a japanese tea master before he confronts a samurai warrior. The end of the day brought feedback from the teachers, with each one offering us the element of the workshop that had the greatest impact for them:

‘[It] Will make the class experience more rich and interesting’

‘Silence is powerful’

‘…drama can be created with collective effort and not just by the teacher’s ideas and instructions’

Follow Emily’s inspiring journey as she travels to Mumbai & welcomes The Snow Queen cast & crew back in Chennai!

Trestle’s outreach programme in India is delivered in partnership with:

For further details about The Snow Queen tour in India, click here
For info about UK show dates at the end of the summer, click here
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